By Jeanny Lavache
Being a virgin only became a burden once I stared college. In high school, I was always awkward and shy. I worried about everything from my grades to my appearance, but never did I really worry about sex. It wasn’t until I got to the University of Florida that I quickly realized sex was everywhere and hookup culture wasn’t just a college stereotype.
It was hard listening to my friends go on about their thrilling sex lives, while I sat listening like an ignorant child. It was hard to date as well. Because I was a virgin, dating became tricky. I’ve never had a boyfriend, and this simple fact seemed to linger over me like a dark cloud that rained drops of rejection.
This is college. Who isn’t having sex in college? Well, that would be me. I was new to it all. I was “the virgin” in my friend group, and I would weakly cackle every time a joke about my gloomy love life was made. I wanted to date, and I wanted a boyfriend, but it started to seem like sex was the prerequisite to a relationship, or at least that’s what I saw around me.
Losing my virginity wasn’t something I wanted to save for marriage, but it also wasn’t something I was willing to do just to get out of the way. It was important to me and my fragile heart that I waited until I was absolutely ready, but I was closely approaching the age of 20, and I was slowly losing tolerance for my virgin status. I was tired of being seen as an infant.
Listening to stories about random hookups and friends with benefits arrangements became so normal that I started to believe I was the cause of my own loneliness. If only I was bold, confidant or just more outgoing. But honestly the whole idea intimidated me. I didn’t want to be someone I was not, but I also didn’t want to continue hearing “aww you’re still a virgin?” or “Wow, so you haven’t done anything?” Because of this constant sex presence, I started to believe that my conservative, old fashioned ways would lead to my eternal lack-of-love damnation.
So, decided I would stop hoping my “perfect guy” would romantically stumble into my life, and I took action. After much persuasion from my friends and convincing myself I wasn’t a desperate mess, I downloaded the infamous Tinder dating app. It only took a few matches and messages for me to realize it wasn’t for me. Every message I received from a guy followed the same format. I would be greeted with an extremely flattering compliment followed by a few general questions about myself, and it ended with them wondering if we could hangout. Everything would be fine until I mentioned that I was a virgin. This little detail got an array of reactions from “Are you serious?” to “I could change that” with a winky face. It was a waste of time, and I started to come to terms with my misfortune and prepared myself for a life of solitude and cats.
I deleted the app, and my life went on. I was still lonely, still a virgin and still the butt of every joke. I should have brushed it off and focused on school, but instead I allowed it to eat me up inside. I allowed others to project their ideas of love and relationships onto me, and I dwelled in my loneliness. But suddenly things around me changed. The stories from my friends went from thrilling to heartbreaking, and I saw the hurtful side of casual sex encounters. The fun friends with benefits arrangements turned into one sided relationships where sex was given in exchange for a limited amount of attention. This was when I finally snapped out of my peer-pressured trance, and realized I wasn’t the broken one.
I spent months trying to fit in, and it became clear to me that the people I chose to surround myself with were engaging in these activities not because it’s what college kids did, but because it was a way to fill a void in their life. For the first time in months I realized being a virgin wasn’t something to be ashamed of. I was still the “clueless virgin,” but at least I could say I was happy.